Ghanaian Beadwork

Krobo powder glass beads are made from a special, locally dug clay by using the ‘vertical mold dry powder glass’ technique. The three styles of those beads are as follows:

  • Beads made by fusing together fairly large bottle glass or glass bead fragments. These are translucent or semi-translucent.;
  • Beads comprising two halves (usually bicones but occasionally spheres) joined together in a second, short firing process; or
  • The ‘Mue ne Angma’ or ‘Writing Beads’ are made from finely ground glass, with glass slurry decorations that are being ‘written on’ and fused in a second firing.

Also manufactured by the Krobo from the 1950s are older Akoso Beads.The most common colour is yellow, but there are also green and, rarely, blue or black specimens.The glass surface is often worn away at the ends and equator, exposing a grey core. The glass powder and the decorative patterns were derived from Venetian beads.

The manufacture of Meteyi Beads were by the Ashanti people of Ghana ceased during the 1940s. They appear to have been made in horizontal molds, are often elipsoid in cross section, have a rough surface on the side which touched the bottom of the mold during firing and can be opaque yellow or, more rarely, green blue or white, with stripe combinations of blue, yellow, white or red.